I think I was just on the receiving end of a spirited round of good-cop, bad-cop. The experience began when our store received an internet order for a 40 piece platter of BBQ wings. Nothing unusual about that. The delivery was made and everyone was seemingly satisfied. About 15 minutes after the food was delivered we received a call from what sounded like a middle-aged woman claiming that she received the wrong order. We asked her what she received. She claimed she got BBQ wings instead of mango habanero wings. That's a big mistake if it's true, because the cost of that mishap alone would probably be close to $20 dollars in lost food.
Poultry has a serious cost involved with it. The profit margin on fowl is practically non-existent. It's essentially an item we carry to cater to the request of customers as opposed to something that actually helps keep the lights on and the ovens churning.
Anyway, our shift runner/my ex-girlfriend Amber proceeded to review the messed up order that was placed in our computer. Turns out the internet order that was placed by this particular customer was in fact for BBQ wings, so she got exactly what she ordered, and that's what Amber told her. The woman hesitated a moment then stated, "Well, I must have mis-clicked online. I wanted habanero wings. Can I get another order sent to me for free?" To which the always responsible Amber replied with an honest yet apologetic, "You got exactly what you ordered. We can't just send you $30 dollars worth of free food. We can discount the food and get it out to you as soon as possible, though." As one would expect, the customer was unwilling to take responsibility for her own inept actions, so she responded with an, "I order from you guys all the time, you should have called me when you noticed something was wrong."
There are so many things wrong with that singular statement that I don't even know where to begin. How are we supposed to know that you mis-ordered? We can't possibly know what you intended to order. How could we? Even if you ordered from us every single day of your life, you couldn't honestly expect us to keep track of your preferences and comprehend that you're in the mood for something besides what you personally ordered. Worse yet, according to this customer's order history she ordered about once every six weeks, so it was exponentially more unfeasible that we memorize her cravings. Overall, you have to understand that the responsibility lies with you to order the appropriate item. Not for us to telepathically proofread your order. We make internet orders with the idea that you ordered what you wanted. We don't go in assuming that mastering a mouse is too tall an order for you and your loved ones.
Amber just kept tossing out a tidal wave of apologies for each and every terrible excuse that was hurled her way. After the cascade of whining subsided and the ownership of responsibility was partially avoided, the lady ordered an extra 40 piece platter of wings at a heavily discounted price and said that she'd come in and pick it up.
Amber asked me if I could assist the disgruntled customer when she came in since she had already had to experience the bulk of the bitching. I understood where she was coming from, so I begrudgingly accepted. It's sort of an unspoken rule that we pass around the pain in an attempt to ease everybody's suffering. It's like paying it forward, but the payment is essentially a slow skewering of our soul and the steady removal of our sanity.
About 15 minutes later two women walked into the store. One looked to be in her mid-forties and the other seemed to be in her early twenties. I asked the two how I could help them, to which the older of the two women said, "Your favorite customers are here." I obviously figured out who it was, so I grabbed their wings and pulled up their order so that I could expedite the payment process and get them out of the store before they decided to launch into a full-blown hissy fit. Right when I brought up the order the younger of the two ladies said, "I don't understand why we don't get this for free. I work in the restaurant business and that's part of the job." I then replied that most restaurants don't have a website in which you can order all your food to your own specifications. I then hit the point home that their order wasn't messed up. It was made perfectly according to what they sent through. She ignored my logic and then, with as much venom as possible, asked for everything for free, again.
That's when the older woman said, "Don't worry about it. Can I get your name, sir? I'm going to write your boss a letter on how polite you are. I appreciate you discounting the food for us when it was our mistake." The younger girl then suddenly chimed in that she wanted a larger discount in addition to a complimentary couple of 2-liters for being inconvenienced. Before I could respond the older lady shot out a, "I don't think we tipped the driver enough. Add an extra two dollars to our bill for his time. Thanks!" The younger girl then demanded a handful of free ranch dressing for the road.
I was so flustered at this point that I was just fumbling around on the computer pretending to do work. The older lady tossed out a final "Sorry for the trouble," paid and then left. It was the most confusing five minutes of my life. The younger lady was berating me while the older woman was showering me with niceties. I never been so emotionally mixed up.
My question in all of this is why didn't the nicer of the two ladies tell the ignorant youngin' to shut the hell up? If I was apologizing for a mishap and a younger slightly more retarded version of myself was undermining my sincerity, I'd backhand them and tell them to go sit in the car while the grownups were talking.
Also, if I worked at a restaurant and understood the plight of a fellow industry member that was caught in a pickle, I wouldn't do exactly what every retail employee/food handler despises; that's act like a bitch with a breadstick stuck up my ass. I'd respond in a productive manner. By that I mean I'd inject a heavy dose of understanding into my complaint with a hint of an apology tacked on, but that's just me. Who am I to bring cold hard logic into an otherwise irrational situation? It would be like a member of SEAL Team Six showing up at the local Marine Ball and kicking the doorman in the nuts for not icing Obama first. It wouldn't happen because they're on the same team. Just like me and my whiny waitress friend.
So what's the moral of this story? I have no fucking idea. I'm still confused.